The Connected East Africa Summit is a yearly conference that was created by the ICT authority in consultation with ICT industry players and key government decision makers. The aim of the Summit is to nurture collaboration between the government and the ICT sector to hasten implementation of government IT projects.
This year, the Connected East Africa Summit took place on the 30th to 2nd April at Leisure Lodge Gold and Resort in Kwale County. The theme of the 2015 summit was ‘strength is in our networks’ and offered participants from ICT, the government, academia and private sector an opportunity to share ideas on how to use ICT more efficiently to deliver enhanced services to East Africans.
The Summit was first held in Kenya in 2009 and from 2009 to 2014 was known as Connected Kenya. However, when East African ICT Ministers suggested an expansion to East Africa with Kenya as the host, therefore the event was rebranded to Connected East Africa Summit. The regional event also addressed issues of creating an integrated ICT infrastructure and policies throughout the region in order to increase investments in IT services. In general, the objectives of the 2015 summit were;
To address gaps in ICT integration and shared infrastructure among the East African Member states
To speed-up harmonization of ICT regulation across the region
To build support on ongoing ICT integrated infrastructure projects across the East African region.
To provide a platform for meaningful networking that will result in fruitful relationships that contribute to the economic development of the East African region.
The Summit included presentations on case studies and panel discussion on matters that effect ICT in East Africa. At the event delegates got to share opinions, insights and suggestions that could contribute in developing the ICT sector in East Africa. In addition, the Summit also featured an Award ceremony to recognize innovations in ICT. The overall winner of the Konza ICT Innovation Award 2015 was Totohealth -www.totohealth.net, a company that utilizes mobile technology to allow parents to monitor the development of their children or pregnant mothers to monitor their pregnancy. Other winners from different categories were;
Educational and Training: Boresha Limited
Financial services: MobiChanga Limited-www.changa.co.ke
Health Care Delivery: Totohealth-www.totohealth.net
Housing and Urbanization: Kejahunt Limited-www.kejahunt.com
IT and Telcoms: Kuhustle-www.kuhustle.com
Local and International Trade: M-shamba Ltd-www.mshamba.net
The Connected East Africa Summit has been a success with some of today’s leading government projects having links to the Summit. In fact, projects such as Kenya Open Data Initiative, Huduma citizen’s portal and more have been refined after discussions held at a Connected East Africa Summit. This year’s summit had a great mixture of decision makers and leading ICT thinkers, from different parts of the world not just the East African region. As Dr. Fred Matiang’i, Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of ICT noted, “the idea of pooling together the regional efforts in ICT is not only prudent but also practical in achieving the development goals of the East African region.”